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The term "magical realism" was coined by a German art critic, Franz Roh, in the late 1920s for painters trying to show reality in a new way. A Venezuelan literary critic, Uslar Pietri, first applied it to Latin American literature, but it was when Miguel Angel Asturias used it to describe his novels when he won the Nobel Prize that it really caught on
Roh described it as a form in which "our real world re-emerges before our eyes, bathed in the clarity of a new day" (according to Brian Evenson in "Magical Realism," New York Review of Science Fiction, March 1998).

There are those who feel that Magical Realism is, like all such categorisations, impossible to define precisely. It also overlaps other genres including fantasy and science fiction.

You may be wondering why I'm writing this? I recently had a student define her screenplay by saying she was aiming for a "magical realism."

I basically told her to not worry about fancy and maybe pretentious labels and just tell her story by creating compelling characters, writing good dialogue and having a story that makes people want to turn the pages and find out what's going to happen next.

Message: just write. Let somebody else tell you it's art or something more.


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